The Wide Awake Loons has been in my Kindle since February 2015.  I suspect I got it in a free or reduced price offer, possibly a Kindle deal.  I apologise to Katherine Holmes for taking so long to get around to reading it, especially as it got into the ‘next to read’ on my Goodreads list a couple of times before. But it was worth the wait!

The Wide Awake Loons

Wide awake loonsby Katherine L Holmes

Ten-year-old Ginny and her mother are opening up the cabin where her family stays during the summer. On an otherwise quiet day, Ginny hears a male loon, Yudel, sparring with a younger bird over territory.

Canoeing with her friend, Wes, Ginny discovers a loon nest on an island. They quickly find themselves protecting the defenseless eggs against predators.

During the summer, the loons raise three loonlings. Now faced with many dangers, Yudel and his mate, Owala, will put their courage to the test. Follow the journey of Ginny and the loons as their stories unite . . . [goodreads]

My Review

The American Loon is more or less the same as the Eurasian Great Northern Diver, except for its range. They live in the far north, and I’ve only seen them off the north western coast of Scotland. Possibly only once.

This story divides between the human and the loons’ perspectives of life on a lake in the northern forests, possibly Minnesota where the author comes from. That doesn’t matter, allthough the reference to US holidays probably confirms the location.  It’s a wonderful unspoilt area, under pressure from wilderness activities, and increasingly, just pleasure seekers in big boats or with money to spare for sport fishing.

The author ramps the tension up as the loons arrive back at Wide Awake Island to breed, and Ginny’s arrival back in the family cabin for the summer. There are newcomers about, people who could upset the peaceful ambience of the lake and its inhabitants.  Careless boat drivers shower banks with wash, destroying habitats and safe havens for wildlife. At one point I wondered if I really wanted to continue, since I am extremely sensitive to habitat destruction stories.

But the loons’ story is so charming, and Ginny quickly realises the need for secrecy and for teaching neighbours to respect their wilderness heritage, that I was comforted and quickly read through to the end. In fact I would have liked more, but since summer ends and people (and loons) return to their winter quarters, it was enough.

An excellent tale with enough twists to keep boy and girl readers engaged, and hopefully spread the love of these wilderness habitats, which are so endangered.  First class wildlife writing, especially of the loons’ mournful song, which haunts me as I write this.

add to goodreads buttonEnchanting, atmospheric and a happy ending, just what I want in a middle grade summer read. Add it to your list!

THE WIDE AWAKE LOONS by Katherine L Holmes 'Enchanting, atmospheric and a happy ending, just what I want in a middle grade summer read.' @klouholmes #mglit #adventure #wildlife Share on X

Book Review | The Wide Awake Loons
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